Prayer Book From 1864 Funeral of Col. J. deLagnel, Va. 20th Heavy Artillery

Prayer Book Used in the 1864 Funeral for Col. Johnston deLagnel, Va. 20th Heavy Artillery and Associated Mourning Pin – This is a beautifully bound and printed, 1857 Episcopal Prayer book, bound in a dark, blue velvet. Of great note is this poignant inscription written , in period ink, on a flyleaf page preceding the title page, “Died at Fort Johnston, Charleston Harbor, on Thursday, the 7th of April 1864, of Pneumonia      Johnston deLagnel”; beneath this inscription, on the same page, is a second inscription that reads as follows: “Flowers taken from lid of coffin, Friday the 15th of April, 1864.” On a second flyleaf page is another inscription, also in period ink: “Entered into rest, Robert J. Smith, on Monday morning, the 6th of April, 1868.” Both pages, where these inscriptions appear, are replete with multiple pinholes, apparently where the flowers from Col. deLagnel’s coffin once were attached to the prayer book. In addition to this book, Perry Adams obtained, from the same family, a fine, Victorian, rose gold mourning brooch; we are not sure if it was associated with the prayer book or Col. deLagnel, but apparently these two items had been together for many years. Both pieces are in superior condition. The brooch measures as follows: Length – 1 5/8″; width – 1 5/16″

When we obtained this prayer book, we discovered a Charleston, SC newspaper clipping, just inside the front board. The clipping, obviously of war period vintage, has, on one side, a group of ads, requesting recruits for SC mounted units, as well as ads for day laborers. On the other side of the clipping is a lengthy prayer, to be spoken at someone’s funeral. We presume that this prayer may have been spoken at the funeral of Col. deLagnel. SOLD

Johnston deLagnel


Birth: 1831
Death: 1864South Carolina, USA
Died 1864 at Charleston Harbor, S.C. Major, 20th Battalion, Va. Heavy Artillery
Burial:Saint Paul’s CemeteryAlexandriaAlexandria CityVirginia, USAPlot: Section 4, lots 163 & 164

 Military Record of Johnston DeLagnel

Residence was not listed; Enlisted on 9/1/1861 as a Private.


On 9/1/1861 he was commissioned into CS Staff Officer (date and method of discharge not given); On 7/3/1862 he was commissioned into Field & Staff VA 20th Battn Heavy Artillery ; He was transferred out on 10/23/1863; On 10/23/1863 he was commissioned into CS Beauregard’s Staff He died on 4/8/1864 at Fort Johnson, SC (As Capt and Ordnance Officer) He was listed as:* Stationed 9/1/1861 Jamestown Island, VA, * Assigned 12/6/1861 Hardy’s Bluff Battery

Promotions:* Capt 10/7/1861,* Colonel 5/15/1862 (As of 9th VA Inf, declined promotion),* Major 4/11/1863 (Senate rejected nomination to Major) 20th Battalion, Virginia Heavy Artillery

OVERVIEW: 20th Heavy Artillery Battalion was organized and accepted into Confederate service at Drewry’s Bluff, Virginia, in June, 1862. It contained four companies and a fifth was added in September. The unit was attached to the Department of Richmond and aided in the defense of the city. Converted to infantry in 1865, it participated in the Appomattox Campaign and surrendered with 11 men. Majors Johnston DeLagnel and James E. Robertson were in command.



In April 1885, Edgar Warfield, a former private in Company H of the 17th Virginia, proposed to the R. E. Lee Camp of the United Confederate Veterans that a monument be erected to the Confederate dead of Alexandria. When the famous Southern artist, John A. Elder of Fredericksburg, Virginia, heard of the proposed monument, he submitted a clay model of the figure in his painting “Appomattox,” which was promptly accepted. Elder’s painting represented a Confederate soldier viewing the battlefields after the surrender of General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox, Virginia on April 9, 1865. The bronze figure was executed by sculptor M. Gasper Buberl of New York City and cast by the Henry Bennard Bronze Company. The base of Georgia granite was produced by William Leal of Richmond, Virginia. On November 5, 1888, the R. E. Lee Camp voted to seek approval from City Council to place the statue at the intersection of Washington and Prince Streets, the point from which the Alexandria troops left the city. The Council quickly granted permission to erect the statue at this site. Amongst other soldiers honored with their names on this monument, Col. Johnston deLagnel’s appears, as well.





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